Adderall and alcohol: what happens when you mix them

Taken together, Adderall and alcohol can help you party all night long. But what happens to your body when you mix Adderall and alcohol? And what side effects can you expect? Also, we ask what universities can and should do to help address this new national pastime.

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Why mix Adderall and alcohol?

In general, high doses of amphetamines like Adderall are likely to increase the impairing effects of alcohol. So, some people take Adderall to party longer, so that they can drink more while at the same time delaying the “sleepy, drunk-like” feeling and avoiding passing out. The primary motivation for taking Adderall with alcohol is to achieve desired psychoactive effects (to increase or decrease certain alcohol effects or to “get high”).  Effects of mixing Adderall and alcohol on the body include:

  • decreased depressant effects of alcohol
  • euphoria
  • excitation
  • increased alertness
  • increased blood pressure
  • increased pulse
  • insomnia
  • loss of appetite

What happens when you drink and take Adderall

Adderall is a long-acting amphetamine stimulant and alcohol is a depressant. If you use stimulants to prolong a drinking session (how long does Adderall last?), the stimulant effectively blocks the depressant effects of alcohol, so it’s much easier to overlook the warning signs that you’ve had enough to drink. This is why mixing alcohol and Adderall can lead to alcohol poisoning. Additionally, alcohol can decrease your seizure threshold and interact with Adderall, resulting in seizures. Additionally, alcohol seems to worsen many of the side effects of Adderall. Mixing alcohol with Adderall can result in:

  1. alcohol poisoning
  2. seizures
  3. worsened side effects of Adderall

Withdrawal symptoms from Adderall and alcohol include:

  • apathy
  • depression
  • disorientation
  • irritability
  • long periods of sleep

Connections between Adderall and alcohol use

According to a 2008 study from Dalhousie University in Canada, most cases of mixing meds with alcohol (around 80%), occur such that people take Adderall after they start drinking. Another study from 2006 by the Center for Substance Abuse Research (CESAR) found that on college campuses, Adderall is typically snorted and used in combination with alcohol, but was though to be least harmful when used alone to study. And finally, another 2006 study from the University of Michigan found that men and women with alcohol problems are 18 times more likely to use prescription drugs for non medical reasons than people who don’t drink at all.


Adderall is one of the most popular and available drug on U.S. campuses at the moment. With easy access and relative ease of use, students are popping and drinking without thought. What should universities do to address the problem? And are students willing to seek help? Is it better to teach students HOW TO DRINK longer (eating food, taking smaller sips, drinking water) than to risk the serious hazard of mixing stimulants with alcohol? What do you think? I publish all relevant comments here.

Western Washington University studen health center “Ask the Doc” topic on Adderall and alcohol
Go Ask Alice topic on mixing alcohol and Adderall
U.S. Department of Justice website
About the author
Lee Weber is a published author, medical writer, and woman in long-term recovery from addiction. Her latest book, The Definitive Guide to Addiction Interventions is set to reach university bookstores in early 2019.
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